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Govt probes bank accounts of 13 NGOs

By David Lumu

Added 14th August 2019 10:08 AM

The move comes against the backdrop of countrywide validation of NGOs, which started on August 8

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Sydney Asubo the executive director of the Finance Intelligence Authority. Photo by Kennedy Oryema

The move comes against the backdrop of countrywide validation of NGOs, which started on August 8

As the national verification process of non-government organisations (NGOs) in the country continues to take shape, the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) boss, Sydney Asubo, has written to Equity Bank, requesting for account details of over 10 NGOs.

“The purpose of this communication, therefore, is to request you to search your databases and avail us account opening documents, bank statements for the last three years and any information available to you linked to each of the above-listed entities for our review,” Asubo said in his August 8 letter to the managing director of Equity Bank.

The NGOs that have been lined up for review by the FIA Include, Action Aid International Uganda, Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral  Democracy in Uganda, Alliance for Campaign Finance Monitoring, the Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda, the National Non-Governmental Organisation Forum and the Human Rights Network Uganda.

Others are the National Democratic Institute, the Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies, Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Kick Corruption Out of Uganda, the National Association of Professional Environmentalists and Africa Institute for Energy Governance.

The Democratic Governance Facility (DGF), which is funded by seven of Uganda’s International Development Partners (Austria, Denmark, European Union, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden), is also under probe.

The move comes against the backdrop of countrywide validation of NGOs, which started on August 8.

According to the minister of internal affairs, Gen. Jeje Odongo, the validation exercise will end on September 7.

“All NGOs with either expired permits or who have never registered with the NGO Bureau, in accordance to section 31 (1) of the NGO Act 2016, are not supposed to operate in any part of the country,” he said.

The national NGO register indicates that there are 14, 207 registered NGOs, out of which 3, 810 have valid permits.

Odongo said in a statement issued last week that 10, 397 NGOs are operating illegally.

This is the first time since 1989 that Government is verifying NGOs across the country.

“Some NGOs that are ignorant of the law think that possession of a certificate of registration allows them to operate freely without any requirement to renew. Some are confidently operating on forged documents,” he said, emphasizing that all NGOs should take note of the validation exercise, which kicks-off today.

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